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Ban on federal funds for abortion included in Senate’s spending bill

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Brandon Bourdages | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 03/17/22 - updated on 04/07/22

Leaders of pro-life organizations are hailing the efforts of those who fought for the Hyde Amendment's continued presence.

After months of political debate, the Hyde Amendment was ultimately included within the 2022 federal spending bill passed by the Senate on March 10. The omnibus bill, which came in at $1.5 trillion, also includes an aid package of $13.6 billion for Ukraine. 

Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has been included in every federal spending bill. The provision ensures that public funds appropriated to the Labor Department, the Health and Human Services Department, and other such agencies cannot be put towards abortions. There are, however, clauses that make exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or endangerment of the mother. 

Debates over the continued use of the Hyde Amendment have been ongoing for years, but they began in earnest when President Joe Biden took office. Biden, who supported Hyde for decades, reversed his long-held stance while on the campaign trail. In 2021, Biden eliminated the provision from the proposed 2022 budget.

March for Life

The Catholic Sentinel spoke with Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life, who applauded the pro-life senators who fought to keep the Hyde Amendent. She praised Hyde for its capacity to save lives (some estimate that more than 2.4 million lives have been saved), but cautioned that the bill will still send some $286 million to Planned Parenthood. A further $575 million in Title “X” funding is slated to go to international “family planning” organizations. 

Mancini told Catholic Sentinel: 

“A consistent majority of Americans say they don’t want to be forced to pay for this life-ending procedure.” She pointed to a Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll survey released in January that found that 54% of Americans oppose or strongly oppose the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion and 73% oppose or strongly oppose using tax dollars to fund abortion services in other countries.

USCCB

The chairmen of five USCCB committees released a joint statement, Catholic Philly reported, which praised the efforts of Congressional representatives who supported Hyde’s inclusion. They said: 

“In particular, we are grateful that Congress has maintained long-standing, bipartisan, and lifesaving provisions including the Hyde, Helms and Weldon amendments that prevent our tax dollars from paying for the tragedy of abortion and protect people from having to participate in abortion against their consciences.” 

Helms and Weldon

The Helms Amendment is similar to Hyde, but it pertains to international funds being used for abortions. Meanwhile the Weldon Amendment offers protections to health care providers who refuse to perform, finance, or refer women to abortion clinics. Helms has been included in federal spending bills since 1973, while Weldon has only been around since 2005. 

The bishops, who led a petition to preserve the Hyde Amendment that gained more than 130,000 signatures in 2021, went on to praise other measures of the bill. They highlighted improvements to maternal health care, and funds to help refugees and migrants. The USCCB said: 

“We welcome the inclusion of provisions that address the unique vulnerability of pregnant and postpartum mothers impacted by the U.S. immigration system, as well as critical services for other at-risk populations.”

Read more at Catholic Philly

Tags:
AbortionPro-lifeUnited States
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